Fun run, activities abound

By RICHARD LUKEN
Register Reporter

In commemoration of Iola’s sesquicentennial, the community is invited to join a public reading of the Declaration of Independence Saturday morning.
The reading will be in front of the Old Jail Museum on North Jefferson Avenue. Thirty-plus residents will take part in the reading, which will follow a flag-raising ceremony at 10 a.m.
Attendees are asked to bring their own seating.
Drafted by Thomas Jefferson between June 11 and June 28, 1776, the Declaration of Independence is considered one of our nation’s most cherished symbols of liberty. Late afternoon of July 4, 1776, the first printing of the Declaration was made by a local Philadelphia printer.
Congress ordered copies be sent “to Assemblies, Conventions, Committees and Councils, and to the Commanding officers of the Continental Troops. It was to be proclaimed to each of the United States and at the head of the Army.”
Two days later, the full text of the Declaration appeared for the first time in the Philadelphia Evening Post.
Two days further, the Declaration of Independence was, for the first time, read aloud by Col. John Nixon of the Philadelphia Committee of Safety at the State House in Philadelphia.
Also on that same day Easton, Pa., and Trenton, N.J., held public proclamations. Those first public readings constituted America’s first celebrations of the Fourth of July.

IOLANS will recall one of the town’s more dubious moments starting Friday evening as part of the Charley Melvin Mad Bomb Run For Your Life.
On July 10, 1905, Melvin, an Iola prohibitionist who had recently been released from a mental asylum, stole 1,500 stocks of dynamite and blew up three saloons on the west side of Iola’s downtown business district.
There were no injuries, although the midnight blast was felt 12 miles away. Melvin fled town before being nabbed about a month later in Iowa.
The commemoration begins Friday evening with a car show on the west side of the courthouse square at 6 o’clock, Molly Trolley tours from 6 to 8 and free swimming at the Iola Municipal Pool from 9 to 11:30 p.m.
The scene shifts back downtown at midnight, on the front steps of the Iola post office — site of the saloon bombing. A single firework set off at 12:26 a.m. — when the original blast occurred — will start a collection of runners on a 5-kilometer trek leading them through Highland Cemetery and back. Those in the mood for a brisk walk will follow a 3K path along Washington and back.
Registration for the run is handled by Thrive Allen County for a $20 fee for adult runners or $17 for teams or family members. Youths and walkers pay $12 registration fees. A T-shirt comes with registration.
The fun run is a fund raiser for Thrive and Allen County Crime Stoppers.